Blogs/ >

How we’re helping survivors of violence and displacement reclaim hope

POSTED April 25, 2022

How we’re helping survivors of violence and displacement reclaim hope

Namiratou shares her story to rebuilding her life, while supporting her mom and peers in Burkina Faso

By Christelle Kalhoule, director West Africa

survivors of violence and displacement backs camera

She’s been promised in marriage, beaten, driven from her family home by her father, driven from a new home due to terrorist attacks and sexually victimized.

This chain of events began when Namiratou’s father shared his plans to give her in marriage to his friend who already had three wives. When the teen refused, the family patriarch beat her so severely she needed medical care.

When she returned from the hospital, Namiratou’s father chased her and her mom from the family home in the country’s Centre East region.

How do you start over after suffering a trauma?

The teen and her mother fled to their hometown in the Centre-North Region. Then, terrorists attacked their village and, once again, they found themselves running to seek refuge.

During this journey, a group of young men raped Namiratou. There was no time to recover. Namiratou’s mom had to guide her daughter through more days of walking in a demoralized state, before they settled in the city of Kaya with other internally displaced people from their hometown.

Hope is possible thanks to support through Children Believe and UNICEF

The duo connected with Children Believe who’s been building child-friendly spaces, along with providing psychosocial care and education, for displaced children recovering from trauma. That’s thanks to a UNICEF-funded grant in the cities of Kaya and Fada.

It’s at one of these safe spaces that Namiratou met our community facilitator who took her to a Doctors Without Borders health centre for care. Fortunately, she didn’t have an infection and could focus on receiving psychological care and support with a psychologist.

After a few counselling sessions, and with support from the psychologist and community animator (or social worker), an action plan was developed to guide Namiratou’s life forward, helping the survivor of violence and displacement.

Along with the medical and nutritional care — and as part of outreach to youth between three and 18 years old — she received a small monetary gift so she could begin income-generating activities.

Girl makes millet cake in Burkina Faso

Lasting change for the better is possible with community support

Namiratou’s already finding success since she started to make and sell local millet cake (above) — similar to a breakfast pancake — in November. She has nearly enough saved to pay six months’ rent at the home she shares with her mom

When I met a smiling Namiratou, she expressed deep gratitude to Children Believe and the team in Kaya for a second chance at life. “My greatest joy is to have swept the tears from my mother’s [eyes]. We can now live with dignity,” she told me happily.

At the time, she was preparing to join the Village Savings and Loans Association group Children Believe set up for internal displaced women. Her goal was to help others like her, and grow her small businesses to build a better future.

I’m so thankful to our dedicated Children Believe teams in Kaya and Fada who are making an extraordinary difference through this project. We’re committed to helping some of the 1.5-million children and families in the country displaced following years of attacks by radical groups.

You can help address issues of violence and displacement by sponsoring a child in Burkina Faso today.

Sharing is caring:


Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

Skip to content